Montessori Educare Academy (MEA) in Ahwatukee recently celebrated its approval of its nonprofit status Tuesday evening during a launch and open house event.

The approval took the school’s administration a span of 16 months.

“It was a way for our families, former families and members of the community to come together and celebrate that status,” said Karen Hyatt, head of school.

Hyatt said the school wanted to seek corporate donations, such as Honeywell and Intel, which would be their main focus within the coming months.

The nonprofit status will go toward giving the school the opportunity to provide additional scholarships for parents who are interested in keeping their child at MEA for kindergarten, apply for different grants, and to supplement the school’s operational budget.

Jennifer Leyendecker, who has been teaching primary for the past seven years, said the nonprofit status was an exciting venture for the school and was eager to see the new changes it would bring.

“I think the playground is super exciting and I think the kids will be excited about that,” she said.

MEA goals for the coming school year will focus on adding technology to each of the primary classrooms, renovating the school’s playground area and working toward enhancing the kindergarten curriculum.

“We’ll earmark projects every year and then decide what we want to use them for. For the cooperate donations I would like to try to focus using them to supplement our kindergarten tuition,” Hyatt said. “Kindergarten is a tough year because we don’t have that much retention and you can go anywhere for free. Montessori is a three-year cycle, so we are hoping to put some of that money back into some sort of scholarship program.”

As of right now, MEA houses nine kindergarten students, whose tuition for the year stands at $5,950.

With the coporate sponsorship, Hyatt said that the school planned to offer free kindergarten with the years to come.

“That’s one of our big focuses is really building our kindergarten program because it’s a huge piece in being a Montessori program,” Hyatt said. “It’s going to be our biggest challenge in achieving the financial place to do it, as well as encouraging people to take advantage of it. It’s going to be a work in progress for the next two to three years to build that and put it in place.”

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